The value of the UK home entertainment market soared to £11.1 billion in 2022, an all-time record for music, video and games sales, according to preliminary figures from digital entertainment and retail association ERA. The total was 6.9% up on 2021 and a dramatic 39% up on the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.
The main driver of growth continues to be streaming and digital formats, which reached £10.1 billion, up 8.4% on 2021. The fastest growing sector in 2022 was video, up 14.4% to £4.432 million, followed by music (up 3.0% to £1.987 million) and games (up 2.3% to £4.664 million). Nevertheless, games continue to represent the largest sector of sales, accounting for 42.1% of the total, with video within touching distance on 40.0% and music on 17.9%.
“Despite pandemic, political uncertainty and recession, entertainment has continued to soar. Growth of nearly 40% since 2019 is extraordinary. Few would have believed we would retain the huge bounce in revenues seen when the Covid lockdown kept people at home, but these numbers show that even amid recession, people are determined to maintain their spending on entertainment. This is a huge vote of confidence in the attractiveness of our member’s offer whether they be small independent record shops or global streaming platforms,” said Ben Drury, Chairman of ERA.
Video had another bumper year in 2022 with revenues up 14.4% to £4.432.2 million driven mainly by subscription streaming from the likes of Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and Now TV. In fact, subscription video on demand grew by 17.6% compared with 2021 to £3,849.8 million, and now accounts for 87% of the video market.
The biggest-selling video title of the year was “Top Gun – Maverick,” Tom Cruise’s sequel to the 1986 original, which sold 1.1 million copies, more than 800.000 of them as “electronic sell-through” or downloads.
“Video has faced the double whammy of a dearth of new releases caused by the Covid lockdown on top of the structural change from physical to digital, but 2022 saw the sector at an another all-time high and well-ahead of its 2008 physical peak of £2.844 million. The success of ‘Top Gun – Maverick’ and second-placed ‘Spiderman – No Way Home’ shows the centrality of new releases to drive excitement in the video market,” commented Kim Bayley, CEO of ERA.
Meanwhile, games remains the largest of entertainment’s three core sectors, accounting for 42.1% of total entertainment revenues in 2022. Sales grew by 2.3% to £4.664,4 million compared with 2021.
Games is the most fragmented of the three sectors, with channels ranging from traditional packaged discs to console downloads, PC games, mobile and tablet games, and a variety of other subscription and token-based playing mechanisms.
Physical games software sales were soft, falling 4.5% to £488.6 million compared with 2021, and now account for just 10% of the overall sector. Conversely, the best performer was console downloads, up 12.2% to £724.7 million. These are still significantly smaller, however, than mobile and tablet games which were up 3.2% to £1.486,8 million, and the catch-all “other digital” category (up 0.2%) at £1.747,4 million.
The biggest-selling console game was “FIFA 23” which sold 2.39 million units across digital and physical formats in the final instalment of the 29-year partnership between its publisher EA and football’s world governing body.
“Gaming remains the often-unheralded leader of the entertainment market. While growth at 2.3% was lower than that of video or music, its scale is enormous, and in terms of innovation and excitement, it continues to set the pace for the entire entertainment sector,” Bayley added.